Fear of midgets (Achondroplasiaphobia)

This article explores the fear of midgets, causes, and tips to overcome this fear.

The fear of Midgets 

Achondroplasiaphobia is a concept that describes the fear of tiny small individuals or midgets, also called lollypopguildophobia. It is obtained from the clinical phrase Achondroplasia, a skeletal condition of the cartilage that develops during the fetal stage, that contributes to dwarfism. This term is not used because it is seen as offensive to people with dwarfism.

Small individuals are harmless, but heading to circuses, nightclubs, malls, or carnivals where midgets are likely to work would be out of the question for individuals with Achondroplasiaphobia. A fear like that can be crippling.

The bedtime tale about snow white and the seven dwarfs is enjoyed by most kids if not all. Since people enjoy a good tale, the tale has also been made into films and animations. There are individuals, however who genuinely could never tolerate such tales, not that they dislike the plot, but since they can not tolerate the appearance of dwarfs, midgets, and small individuals in the tale. It is a real and intense fear of midgets for such individuals. This is a form of phobia known as Achondroplasiaphobia.

An extreme instance is, during her pregnancy, a pregnant woman met a terrifying midget that caused her to conclude that her unborn baby might also be a midget. It caused her to have repetitive dreams about it and a potential miscarriage.

It is suspected that Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan suffers from Achondroplasiaphobia.

Midgets

Midget is a phrase for an individual of abnormally short height that is regarded as derogatory by some. Though not a clinical term, it has been applied to people of abnormally short stature, often with dwarfism, especially proportionate dwarfism, as a health condition.

Midgets have mostly been renowned entertainers, but have been treated by society with disdain and abhorrence. Although in the early 19th century, midgets were romanticized by the middle class and treated as beings of purity with about the same caring disdain applied to girls. The term “midget” came into the limelight in the mid-nineteenth century after Harriet Beecher Stowe included it in her works of fiction Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands and Old Town Folks in which she characterized children and an extremely short man respectively.

Performers participating in current “Midget Wrestling” competitions when surveyed for a 1999 article claimed that they did not see the word “Midget Wrestling” as negative but simply indicative of their small size; nevertheless, others reacting to the article objected with one claiming that an outmoded and humiliating picture was perpetuated by the events themselves. In reference to the people with dwarfism, the term became perceived by some as a derogatory phrase towards the end of the twentieth century.

Dwarfism

Dwarfism, which stems from a hereditary or clinical disorder, is short stature. The grown-up height of 4 feet 10 inches (147 centimeters) or less is commonly classified as dwarfism. Among people with dwarfism, the average adult height is 4 feet (122 cm).

Dwarfism is caused by numerous medical problems. The disorders are commonly subdivided into two main categories:

  • Disproportionate dwarfism

If body size is disproportionate, some areas of the body are small, while others are of normal size or above normal size. Disorders that cause excessive dwarfism hinder bone growth.

  • Proportionate dwarfism

If all areas of the body are small to the same extent and tend to be proportioned like a body of normal size, a body is proportionately small. Medical problems that begin at infancy or arise in early childhood restrict total development and growth.

“Instead of “dwarf” or “dwarfism,” some people like the word “short stature” or little people.” So it’s important to be respectful of the preferences of somebody with this condition. Short stature conditions do not involve short familial stature, a short height that is deemed a common deviation with natural bone growth.

Symptoms of dwarfism

Disproportionate dwarfism

There are disabilities that cause disproportionately small stature in most individuals with dwarfism. This generally means a person has an average torso size and very short limbs, but some individuals could have a very short trunk and shorter limbs (but disproportionately large). The head is unusually wide compared with the body in these conditions. Nearly all individuals with excessive dwarfism have natural intellectual abilities.

A secondary cause, such as fluid buildup around the brain, normally occurs in rare exceptions (hydrocephalus).

A condition called achondroplasia, which causes unusually short stature is the most prevalent cause of dwarfism. Normally, this condition results in the following:

  • An average size trunk
  • Small arms and legs, with upper arms and upper legs that are especially short
  • Small fingers, sometimes with a large gap between center and ring fingers
  • Restricted elbow movement
  • With a high forehead and a flat nose bridge, a disproportionately big head
  • The progressive development of bowed legs
  • The progressive development of swayed lower back
  • Adult height of about 4 feet (122 cm)

Another source of disproportionate dwarfism is a rare condition called congenital spondyloepiphysial dysplasia (SEDC). Signs include:

  • A very short torso
  • A short neck
  • Arms and legs shortened
  • Hands and feet average-size
  • Wide, rounded chest
  • Flattened cheekbones mildly
  • Opening of the mouth on the top (cleft palate)
  • Hip disfigurements that end in the inward turning of the thighbones
  • A foot that’s out of proportion or bent
  • Destabilization of the bones of the neck
  • Progressive curvature hunching of the upper spine
  • The progressive development of swayed lower back
  • Troubles with hearing and sight

Proportionate Dwarfism

Proportionate dwarfism stems from medical problems that restrict developmental potential existing at birth or occurring in early childhood. So they’re all tiny in head, torso, and limbs, but they’re proportionate to each other. Since these conditions impact growth and development, many of them contribute to the poor development of one or more body functions. A comparatively major reason for proportionate dwarfism is growth hormone deficit.

Causes

Genetic disorders are the majority of dwarfism-related problems, although the roots of certain disorders are unclear. Most dwarfism cases arise from a spontaneous genetic mutation either in the sperm of the father or the egg of the mother, instead of from the full genetic profile of either parent.

Achondroplasia

Approximately 80% of individuals with achondroplasia are born to average-height parents. One mutated copy of the gene associated with the condition and one regular duplicate of the gene were given to a person with achondroplasia and two average-sized parents. An individual with the condition can pass on to his or her own children either a mutated or healthy variant.

Turner syndrome

Turner syndrome, a disorder that affects only girls and women, results in the absence or partial absence of a sex chromosome (the X chromosome). From each parent, a female acquires an X chromosome. Instead of two, a girl with Turner syndrome has only one completely functional copy of the female sex chromosome.

Growth hormone deficit

Often the origin of growth hormone deficiencies can be attributed to a genetic abnormality or accident, but no origin can be identified for most people with the condition. 

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, women with disproportionate dwarfism can acquire respiratory issues. It is almost always appropriate to have a C-section (caesarean delivery) because the pelvis shape and size do not enable for safe vaginal birth.

Perceptions of the public

Many persons with dwarfism tend not to be identified by a disability. Some individuals may, however, refer to themselves as dwarfs, little individuals or people of short stature. In common, the word “midget” is deemed an insulting phrase.

People of average height may have misunderstandings regarding individuals with dwarfism. And the depiction in contemporary movies of people with dwarfism also contains stereotypes. Misperceptions can affect the self-esteem of an individual and restrict prospects for school or job success.

Children with dwarfism are particularly susceptible to classmates’ bullying and mockery. Kids may feel alienated from their colleagues because dwarfism is comparatively rare.

Diagnosis of Dwarfism

To evaluate the development of your child and decide if he or she has a dwarfism-related condition, your paediatrician will typically investigate a variety of variables. In certain situations, if very small limbs disproportionate to the trunk are observed, disproportionate dwarfism might be suspected during a prenatal ultrasound.

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Tests for diagnosis can include:

  • Measurements

The measurement of height, weight and head size is a standard component of a well-baby medical test.

  • The appearance. 

For any of the dwarfism disorders, several distinct facial and skeletal characteristics are associated. The presence of your child can also assist your paediatrician in making a diagnosis.

Imaging technology. Your doctor can order imaging tests, such as X-rays, since certain skull and skeleton anomalies may suggest which kind of disease your child may have.

  • Genetic tests.

 For several of the identified causal genes of dwarfism-related disorders, genetic tests are available, but these tests are often not sufficient for accurate diagnosis.

  • Past of families. 

Your paediatrician may take siblings, parents, grandparents, or other relatives with a background of stature to help decide if short stature is the average level of height in your family.

Hormone tests. 

Your doctor – prescribe tests to determine growth hormone or other hormone levels that are important for growth and development in childhood.

The aim of therapy is to optimise productivity and autonomy. Most therapies for dwarfism do not 

improve height, but they can fix or mitigate issues caused by complications.

  • Fixing the manner in which bones are developing
  • Trying to stabilize the spine’s form and fixing it
  • Increasing the wall thickness of the spinal (vertebrae) bones to relieve pressure on the spine
  • Placing a shunt to eliminate fluid buildup, if it happens, around the brain (hydrocephalus)

Overcoming Achondroplasiaphobia

Psychotherapy is one of the most efficient ways of treating and resolving the fear of little people. Speaking about fear can help one to rationalise it.

For adult Achondroplasiaphobia individuals, educating oneself about small individuals is important. Not all are Dwarves bad or dangerous; these are stereotypical concepts about them. They simply have a congenital disorder that has contributed to their condition.

Conclusion

This article explored the fear of midgets, causes, and tips to overcome this fear.

FAQ: Fear of midgets

What is the life expectancy of Achondroplasiophobia?

Most individuals with achondroplasia have a normal life span, according to NHGRI. In the first year of life, however, there is a significantly increased chance of death. Later in life, there could also be an elevated incidence of heart disease.

Do short people live longer?

It also appears that shorter individuals have significantly longer lifespans. The authors say that their height differences are due to the differences in lifespan between the sexes because men are around 8.0 percent taller than women on average and have a 7.9 percent lower life expectancy at birth.

What we recommend for Phobias

Professional counselling

  • If you are suffering from Phobias then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you address the fears you are facing.

Panic Courses

  • Phobias and anxiety go hand in hand and in the end they result in Panic. A panic course such as this may help you alleviate those feelings of fears as it has with over 50,000 people.

Weighted Blankets

  • Weighted Blankets may help you sleep better if your phobias are affecting your quality of sleep. Weighted blankets apply enough weight on you that they make you feel much more relaxed and calm at night.

Citation

Olesen, J., Says, R., Rob, Says, J., B, J., Says, T., . . . Jim. (2020, August 27). Fear of Little People Phobia – Achondroplasiaphobia. Retrieved January 03, 2021, from https://www.fearof.net/fear-of-midgets-phobia-achondroplasiaphobia/

Midget. (2020, December 26). Retrieved January 03, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midget

Dwarfism. (2018, August 17). Retrieved January 03, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dwarfism/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371975

Achondroplasiaphobia: Understanding Fear of Midgets. (2019, December 01). Retrieved January 03, 2021, from https://typesofphobia.com/achondroplasiaphobia-fear-of-midgets/

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